David A. Ochmanek

Photo of David Ochmanek
Senior International/Defense Researcher
Washington Office


M.P.A. in international relations, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; B.S. in international affairs and political science, United States Air Force Academy

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

More Experts


David Ochmanek is a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. From 2009 until 2014 he was the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Force Development.

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he was a senior defense analyst and director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program for RAND Project AIR FORCE, where he worked from 1985 until 1993, and again from 1995 until 2009. From 1993 until 1995, Ochmanek served as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Strategy.

Prior to joining RAND, he was a member of the Foreign Service of the United States, serving from 1980 to 1985. From 1973 to 1978, he was an officer in the United States Air Force.

Ochmanek is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 

Research Focus

Previous Positions

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy

Recent Projects

  • Analytic Support to the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability
  • A New Force Planning and Sizing Construct for DoD
  • Airpower and Moscow's Strategy in the Near Abroad

Selected Publications

Thomas Hamilton and David Ochmanek, Operating Low-Cost, Reusable, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Contested Environments, RAND (RR-4407), 2020 (forthcoming)

David Ochmanek, Restoring U.S. Power Projection Capabilities: Responding to the 2018 National Defense Strategy, RAND (PE-260-AF), 2018

David Ochmanek , Improving Force Development within the U.S. Department of Defense, RAND (PE-302-RC), 2018

With Peter A. Wilson, Brenna Allen, John Speed Meyers, and Carter Price, U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World, RAND (RR-1782), 2017

David Ochmanek, Sustaining U.S. Leadership in the Asia-Pacific Region, RAND (PE-142-OSD), 2015



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: CTV News (Canada); Defence Matters; Foreign Policy; KTRH-AM Online


  • Armoured vehicles are deployed to carry out a shore defense operation as part of the HanKuang military exercise in Taipei, Taiwan, September 16, 2021, photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

    Preventing China from Taking Taiwan

    The single most challenging high-end threat to a key American national security interest today is probably a Chinese invasion attempt against Taiwan. The United States could try to make that scenario unthinkable for Beijing by ensuring that China cannot dominate the western Pacific region.

    Dec 9, 2021 The Hill

  • Flags of United States, Russia, and China on a chess board, photo by Albert_Karimov/Getty Images

    How the United States Could Lose a Great-Power War

    The U.S. armed forces are now preparing for an age of great-power competition and rightly so. The 2018 National Defense Strategy shows the Defense Department is focused on the threats posed by Russia and especially China to U.S. interests, allies, and established partners such as Taiwan. For now, U.S. forces appear poorly postured to meet these challenges.

    Oct 30, 2019 Foreign Policy

  • Soldiers walk to their fuel trucks after refueling a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a forward area refueling point during a readiness training exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, July 12, 2018.

    Reshaping U.S. Military Forces: Getting the Process Right

    War gaming and analysis show that American forces face serious operational challenges. What steps could be taken to ensure the United States can defeat aggression by its greatest adversaries?

    Jul 20, 2018 Defense News

  • German troops cross the Neris River during the 2017 Iron Wolf exercise in Stasenai, Lithuania, June 20, 2017

    A 'Glass Half-Full': Next Steps for Enhancing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank

    The United States and key allies have taken steps toward redressing the imbalance in military power between NATO and Russia in Northeastern Europe. But NATO's defense planners must be clear-eyed about what remains to be done.

    Feb 12, 2018 The RAND Blog

  • Lithuanian Land Forces fire a smoke screen from an M113A1 Armored Personnel Carrier during a joint exercise with their American partners in Rukla, Lithuania, May 22, 2015

    In Defense of a Wargame: Bolstering Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank

    A series of wargames examined the potential results of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states. While such an invasion appears unlikely, its consequences would be so dangerous that not taking steps to deter it more robustly would be imprudent.

    Jun 14, 2016 War on the Rocks

  • The Ohio-Class ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada returns to homeport at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol

    If We Keep Cutting Defense Spending, We Must Do Less

    The United States is underinvesting in defense and other instruments of national influence just when they are most needed. Improving defenses needn't require Cold War levels of expenditure but Americans should look realistically at the demands being placed on their forces and generate the revenues to meet those demands.

    Oct 19, 2015 Newsweek

  • U.S. sailors conduct maintenance on an F/A-18C Hornet on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson Jan. 4, 2015

    Advice for Defense Innovators

    If the U.S. is to retain its status as the security partner of choice for many of the world's most important states, and help sustain peace and stability in regions critical to our own security, future U.S. forces must be far more capable.

    Jan 12, 2015 Defense News

  • Real Roles, Missions Debate

    The United States can and should move beyond a "one size fits all" approach to sizing military forces toward a construct that shapes each service for the types of operations it is actually expected to conduct in the future, write Andrew Hoehn and David Ochmanek.

    Apr 7, 2008 Washington Times

  • Crafting Terror Strategy

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Crafting Terror Strategy, in United Press International.

    Oct 18, 2006 United Press International